BU art professor to exhibit ceramics

For immediate release: Oct. 24, 2007

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania art professor Karl Beamer will exhibit his ceramic pieces from Nov. 5 to 30, in the Haas Gallery of Art. A reception will be held on Friday, Nov. 9, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

Beamer’s show, entitled “Shaping Life: Tradition and Influence,” features his wood-fired ceramic pottery, most of which is heavily influenced by an ancient Japanese technique. Shortly after completing his master of fine arts degree at Penn State in 1972, Beamer began teaching sculpture and ceramics at BU. Like many contemporary ceramist, he used a gas kiln to fire his pottery. His approach changed, however, after a visit to Japan in 1991. He met Shiho Kanzaki, a ceramic artist and Buddhist priest who is internationally known for reviving an ancient, natural firing technique once practiced in the Japanese ceramic center of Shigaraki.

In this approach, pottery is fired in a wood-burning or anagama kiln, which produces surface effects such as color through natural ash deposits rather than through the application of glaze directly to the clay. Without Kanzaki’s revival of the technique, Beamer noted, the no-glaze tradition could have been lost. Beamer and Kanzaki ultimately developed a working friendship that led to the construction of an anagama kiln at Beamer’s home near Bloomsburg. Beamer is one of only a handful of contemporary artists working in the Shigaraki manner.

The exhibit was organized and installed by students in the Museum Exhibition class, taught by Andrea Pearson, associate professor of art and art history. The students worked with all aspects of creating an exhibition and each chaired a committee, including gallery design, brochure production, reception, publicity and tours, images for documentation and transportation of works.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students and offers 65 bachelor’s, 18 master’s and one doctoral degree.